Whether you’re just starting out or just really trying to get your career in gear, here’s some advice that, most likely, no one told you.

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Are you a recent college graduate? Or is your career stuck in a low gear? I’ll bet you’ve been receiving a lot of career advice from your family and friends. All well intentioned, I’m sure.

So I’m going to give you some career advice that, most likely, no one has told you yet — and that you might not want to hear. But if your goal is to climb the proverbial career ladder, then you should keep reading.

Your career is YOUR responsibility. That’s right, your responsibility. Not your manager’s responsibility. Not HR’s responsibility. And certainly not your parents’ responsibility.

You can’t do mediocre work. Doing so-so work won’t get you noticed. If you want to stand out then you need to do outstanding work that will get you seen by management. Find ways you can go above and beyond the daily requirements and add value to the organization.

You need to become an expert in something. People turn to the experts when there are challenges and to solve problems. Look for areas in your business where you can put your skills to use and become an expert. Then, volunteer for projects that will allow you to use these skills and show them off.

You’ll never love 100 percent of your job. Many people wrongly assume they’ll love every aspect of their job. The truth is … that isn’t going to happen. No one loves every part of his or her job. And that’s OK. Figure out the parts you love and the parts you don’t like very much, and then come up with ways you can make your work fun.

You must continuously prove you are an asset. You did a good job finishing a project on time and under budget. Good for you. Now, do it all over again. Every day when you get up and go to your job, you must prove your value to the company.

Career sponsors are more important than mentors. Look for mentors who can help you acquire the skills that you’re lacking. But what’s even more priceless is finding sponsors — people who will look out for your best interests and help you fast-track your career.

Being arrogant is the fastest way to grind your career to a halt. Want to get promoted into higher-level jobs? Then learn how to play nice with others. That’s right — learn to flex your style so you can get along with any personality type.

Lisa Quast is a certified executive coach, and the author of the book Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach. Email her at lquast@careerwomaninc.com.